. . . until the fullness of the Gentiles be come
in." Some have interpreted this to mean that the
hardening will continue till the last Gentile has been
save, hence till the end of time--a permanent hardening,
with no salvation possible.
Others consider "the fullness of the Gentiles" to
refer to a substantial, considerable, possibly even the
maximum number to be saved--the high tide of Gentile
membership in the church. This seems much more likely. The
other alternative hardly makes sense in light of what
immediately follows, and has to be rejected if context
(2) "And so all Israel shall be saved." "So" may
be understood in either of two senses: (a) In this manner;
or (b) consequently. If the first sense is correct, the
manner is to be inferred from preceding text--that is, it
is to be by turning from unbelief to belief, the same as
the Gentiles had done and were doing. This expresses
obvious fact, but does not seem to be what is indicated by
Immediate context makes it more natural to take
"so" to mean "consequently." That would make the thought to
be that after "the fullness of the Gentiles be come in" the
hardness of Israel can be expected to end and consequently
"all" Israel yet be save--not just a "remnant."
"All" need not be understood as a mathematical
all, however, but a substantial or considerable number.
There went out to John the Baptist "Jerusalem, and
and all the
region round about Jordan," and were baptized of him in
Jordan (Matt. 3:5-6). "But the Pharisees and lawyers
rejected for themselves the counsel of God, being
baptized of him" (Lk. 7:30). Hence, not every individual
needs to be understood by "all", but a substantial
number--more than a "remnant."
Israel shall be saved." Does this mean spiritual
Israel, or Israel according to the flesh? (See 9:6).
Certainly all spiritual Israel shall be saved. However, in
Paul's day spiritual Israel represented only a remnant of
fleshly Israel. And it was the greater part of the latter
that was hardened "until the fullness of the Gentiles be
come in," with that hardness seemingly to end afterward (at
least for a significant number). It would seem from the
text that spiritual Israel is ultimately to consist of more
than a "remnant" of Israel after the flesh.
Such anticipation seems in harmony with what Jesus
said to Jerusalem on the last day he taught the multitudes
there: "Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say,
Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord" (Matt.
23:;39). This seems to indicate that his second coming
would not be until after Jerusalem (consisting principally
of Jews) had been converted and would welcome those who
come in the name of the Lord--not every individual
inhabitant necessarily, but a substantial number.
(4) "As it is written." "It is written, There
shall come out of Zion the Deliverer; He shall turn away
ungodliness from Jacob: And this is my covenant unto them,
when I shall take away their sins." The Deliverer (Christ)
had already come, but the implication is that turning
ungodliness from Jacob and taking away their sins had not
yet been fulfilled to the extent contemplated in prophecy
and anticipated by Paul--but would be after "the fullness
of the Gentiles come in." This seems to be consistent with
the entire context of Chapters 9-11 and not contradicted by
legitimate exegesis of any other passage.
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